September 26, 2017 at 9:23 AM

How much Does the Lack of Production Visibility Cost Manufacturers?

When mistakes occur on the shop floor – a part doesn’t meet specifications or a piece is out of tolerance – manufacturers pay in lost profit and slowed production. The longer it takes to identify the error and implement a solution, the more damage is done to your business by excessive waste and angry customers.

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August 16, 2017 at 10:32 AM

Five Steps and 12 Weeks to a Manufacturing Solution

If you’re struggling with manufacturing problems – failed audits, late shipments, scrap, waste and worse, a sustainable solution is closer than you may think.

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July 5, 2017 at 9:00 AM

What Quantum MES Can Do for You

The internet can be a confusing place for anyone doing research – especially for manufacturers researching Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).

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June 6, 2017 at 9:08 AM

Bridging the Gap between Your PLM and Manufacturing

Manufacturing and engineering are both symbiotic and disjointed. While manufacturing relies on engineering to do their work, engineers are not trained to provide manufacturing exactly what they need at the design phase; that’s further downstream.  

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August 16, 2016 at 11:13 AM

What to do when an ERP vendor wants to be an MES

There is a big difference between an ERP and an MES, as companies using their ERP on the shop floor have discovered.

Every day, we work with manufacturers to make them more productive, and every day we hear stories about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems trying to replicate an MES. The ERP supplier promises they can replicate the functionality of an MES in their system, offering a single solution for the manufacturers software needs.  Why buy multiple systems when you can get everything in a single purchase?

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May 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM

What is Paperless Manufacturing?

Many companies ask us about paperless manufacturing and how it fits with other systems. Here’s our response.

When discussing manufacturing software, there is no end to the acronyms that can be applied to the products on the market – MES, QMS, ERP, PLM, MRP, and on and on…

One question we often get is about paperless manufacturing – how does it fit into the confusing gamut of shop floor software systems? The answer requires a little insight into CIMx’s history.

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March 2, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Digital Manufacturing Strategies and MES

We offer simple tips for success for companies looking to improve manufacturing with a digital strategy.

 

There are a lot of options out there for a company looking to update their manufacturing or improve production.

Do you buy new machines? Maybe you look at process improvement through Lean manufacturing or Six-Sigma? Then there are a dizzying array of software products – QMS (Quality Management System), PLM (Project Lifecycle Management), the standard MES (Manufacturing Execution System) or MOM (Manufacturing Operations Management), and then the more esoteric or arcane choices like process and performance analytic engines with IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and colorful dashboards you can endlessly format.

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November 3, 2015 at 4:16 AM

5 Ways You Find Real Value with a Smart MES

Not all manufacturing software is the same. Critically evaluate your current software or a new solution to understand its potential value. 

 

There are a lot of MES and manufacturing software systems out there for companies to choose from, but not all are created equal. They all offer similar functionality. They manage manufacturing information, sending work instructions to the shop floor and collecting data on production.

While some MES offer just the standard core functionality, other systems, especially older software, struggle with functionality-creep, attempting to handle everything from your product lifecycle to financials. We believe ERP (Enterprise Resource Management) and MES are different. Tools that pile functionality in the system force users to work the software rather than manufacturing.

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March 11, 2015 at 5:45 AM

The Curious Connection between Waffle House and your MES Vendor

Waffle House has turned its commitment to customers into an enduring brand. What commitment has your MES supplier made to you?

Have you heard of the Waffle House Index? It’s a metric used by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to track the severity of a storm… and a metric that can give you key insight into the level of service your MES supplier provides.

Waffle House offers quality American breakfast food all day long, every day, and the company prides itself on serving customers no matter the weather. This has become a hallmark of the Waffle House brand – the website even promises “Each restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and quality is constant location to location.”

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September 4, 2014 at 8:53 AM

4 Ways Paperless Manufacturing Can Benefit Composite Manufacturing

Composite manufacturing can often be more art than science, making consistent production a struggle. Learn how MES can overcome many of those difficulties to improve production.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Composites are made from two or more physically different materials that are combined to act as one, yet remain distinct. Manufacturing composites is complex, and can be difficult, but it’s a vital industry, producing some of the strongest, lightest and most versatile materials in the world. Composites are used in almost every industry – from Aerospace and Defense, to simple household items, to electrical equipment, and consumer products. Companies rely on exacting specifications, rigorous recipes for each machine processes, exceedingly stringent quality control, and, in the end, on art as much as science to produce quality composites.

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August 20, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Solve Problems, Not Symptoms, with MES

Maximize the value of your paperless manufacturing system by targeting the root cause, and not just the symptoms, of your shop floor problems. 

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

I had a neighbor once with a hole in her roof.  It wasn’t a big hole, but water dripped into her wall during a bad rain.  My neighbor didn’t fix the hole; instead she kept a bucket of paint and covered the water stain every few months.  “It’s easier to paint than get on the roof,” she once told me. 

Many times, symptoms are easier to identify than the actual issue causing the problem.  
 
When all is not going well on the shop floor – failed audits, quality control issues, slow orders, missing parts, confusion – it’s not always easy to pinpoint the cause.  Every single one of these issues impacts the schedule, which quickly becomes the culprit.  No matter the underlying issue, a missed deadline demands attention.  So, some cling to scheduling as the problem to fix, never discovering the real problem. 
 
It’s slapping another coat of paint on the water-damaged wall. 

Many customers look for dynamic scheduling solutions because they see a shop floor symptom (missed deadlines) and dynamic scheduling offers an easy solution (like a bucket of paint).  Truth is, a simple coat of paint isn’t going to solve much, and will never make much impact on your business. 

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June 23, 2014 at 7:02 AM

Is Paperless Manufacturing Moving to the Cloud?

The cloud is changing the way software and IT service is delivered, but is it ready for manufacturing?

By Nick Stonebraker, CIMx Software Developer

Ever have someone put in an IT Service ticket and ask you to “get” their Yahoo email account to work?  “I click on the email,” they might ask. “And it doesn’t do anything.  Can’t you open it?”  Of course, after checking their web browser, there’s not much you can do (unless you work for Yahoo).  Many don’t understand that subtle fact, because the cloud is still a mystery for so many users.
 
Try to explain where an application or file is in the cloud, and many get this slightly lost look and begin peering everywhere, hoping for a glimpse of the “cloud.”  It’s a mystery, but it’s a cool mystery that saves money and provides a host of user benefit.  Most users may not fully understand the cloud, but they know it works and appreciate the benefits – which is why you should be prepared to answer the (inevitable) question, “Why isn’t the shop floor on the cloud?”
 
Cloud computing, computing services hosted over the Internet, offers a number of advantages for the shop floor.  For example, we all know cloud service is often fully managed by the provider, eliminating many upkeep costs and lowering overall expense.  Patches, updates and product maintenance can be done remotely, requiring little time and resource investment but still ensuring users have the latest releases.  With the cloud, users pay for only the services they use.  The service can be quickly scaled when need arises, eliminating many of the emergency crisis that overworked IT departments (understandably) struggle to handle.  But, there are hazards hiding in the promise of cloud computing. 

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June 19, 2014 at 8:07 AM

What Can You Learn About Your MES and Paperless Manufacturing Vendor?

With 4 simple tips, you can learn a lot about a manufacturing software solution before you ever sign a contract.

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

I have called a dozen landscapers to move a large pile of dirt in my backyard.  I still can’t get a return call or sales appointment.  I don’t have the tools or the expertise to move the dirt.  I’m at the mercy of the vendors.  How is it that I can’t find a single company to call me back?  I’m realistic – I know there are times you can’t take on new work, but a simple phone call is all I want. 

What message are these companies sending to potential customers? I don’t want to sign a contract without knowing they will deliver on their promise. What confidence do I have in their work if they can’t even be bothered to give me a call?

I’m constantly amazed at this same lack of follow-through in the software industry. Too many prospects tell us we were one of the few (or the only) vendors to call them back. How is that possible? We’re never too busy to help, and we’d love to grow our business while helping you grow yours. It’s not that we don’t have a full calendar – we are blessed with a full pipeline of work and high standards for our product. We want to build the system features that continue to make our products more robust, user-friendly and dynamic, and that takes time and effort.

But, we also know how frustrating a problem you can’t solve alone can be. When you’re talking manufacturing software like MES or paperless manufacturing, build-it-yourself solutions often become disasters that spiral out-of-control, consume resources and build frustration. So if you know that you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t DIY, then you rely on the vendors (just like me). This can lead to frustration. You have a problem, but the potential solution-providers ignore you. What can you do? Here are a few pointers I’ve learned in software and manufacturing solution industry (and I’m considering for the mud dump in my backyard):

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June 4, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Secrets of Saving Money with Your MES Purchase

Follow these tips to avoid out-of-control MES and Paperless Manufacturing software costs, and save money while solving shop floor problems.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Purchasing an MES or paperless manufacturing system shouldn’t be stressful.  A vendor should offer an honest price upfront, and be able to deliver value and functionality at a reasonable price.  But, that’s not how the process usually works.  These 6 simple tips help ensure you have the shop floor software system you need at a price you can afford.

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May 19, 2014 at 9:38 AM

How Can IT Prepare for the Future on the Shop Floor

We’ve already begun studying ways to use Augmented Reality on the shop floor. Are you ready for the future of manufacturing?

By Nick Stonebraker, CIMx Software Developer

It sounds like a scene from a science fiction movie – a shop floor worker wanders a warehouse or production area. He wears a device over his eyes, and everywhere he looks data scrolls before his eyes. The temperature of a machine appears in a graphic. An arrow points in the direction of the material he is looking for, while a red warning sign flashes over a danger on the floor.

It’s known as augmented reality – using technology and computer-generated sensory input to enhance the user’s view of the real world. With Augmented Reality, technology works to enhance our current perception of reality.

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